JACKSONVILLE, N.C. --
“Any father would be proud, no matter what profession, if his son decided to follow in his footsteps,” said U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Christopher Lisle, the Expeditionary Firefighting & Rescue Chief with Marine Aircraft Control Group-28. “To share the title of Marine and to share that bond is something that we don’t really speak about, but we have become closer and share more than what we used to.”
Lisle, a native of Lakeland, Florida, joined the Marine Corps in May 1999 to get out of his town, and to get away from dead-end jobs. He wanted to do something more with his life and see the world, and the Marine Corps provided just that. According to Lisle, over the last 24 years, the Marine Corps has provided that and more.
“It's really the many accomplishments throughout my career that I look at to say I’m proud of. From graduating boot camp to performing my job during emergency situations or each rank I have obtained knowing that my leadership trusted me to carry on the responsibilities that came with it,” said Lisle, but there was something more personal that he says ranks as one of his proudest moments as a father and supersedes all of his accomplishments.
“I was there when my son came back from the crucible, and I had the opportunity to place my EGA in his hands and welcome him into the Corps as a United States Marine.” U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Christopher Lisle, the Expeditionary Firefighting & Rescue Chief with Marine Aircraft Control Group-28
U.S. Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Devin Lisle, an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station New River, joined the Marine Corps on September 20, 2021, following in his father’s footsteps.
Devin came into the Lisle family in September 2001 when Christopher was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, South Carolina. When Devin was younger, Christopher was not around a lot. He was either at work every other day, up to three days in a row, or on a deployment. That left Devin to be raised mainly by his mother, but when his father was around, he enjoyed watching him do his job as a firefighter in the Marine Corps.
“I was like every little kid; ‘My dad’s a firefighter. I want to be a firefighter!” said Devin. The Lisle family has many pictures of young Devin dressing up as his father, whether it was in cammies or dress blues. Devin was always outside playing war games and ‘playing Marine’. Even from a young age, Christopher believed Devin wanted to become a Marine.
“Growing up my dad wasn’t around a lot, and it was hard. I didn’t understand at first as a child but now I know the reasons why,” said Devin. “We didn’t truly start getting close as we are now until about the age of 13.”
As Devin grew older and started high school, his father convinced him to join the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps, commonly known as JROTC. He transferred to 13 different schools before graduating high school. After graduating, Devin spent a few years working a normal job, and eventually deciding that he wanted to do more with his life.
“I was a firefighter for Western Carteret, North Carolina, for a little bit,’ said Devin. “When I was doing that, it really opened my eyes to what firefighting can be.”
Devin’s peaked interest led him to talk to his dad about firefighting in the Marine Corps, and he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Both father and son share a unique and special memory, the moment when Devin received his eagle, globe, and anchor after his boot camp crucible. His platoon was informed that one of the recruit’s fathers, who is in the Marine Corps, was coming to the ceremony. Devin, thinking it could be anyone’s father, did not suspect anything until the point in the ceremony where his senior drill instructor stepped in front of him to present his EGA. His SDI looked at Devin and continued past him without presenting him with the symbol that consummated his becoming a Marine. At that moment he saw his dad out of the corner of his eye and then caught a glimpse of his mom across the street. Once he was able to wrap his head around his family truly being there, Devin started to cry.
Photo by Cpl. Antonino Mazzamuto
U.S. Marine Corps Master Sgt. Christopher Lisle, left, a regional expeditionary firefighting and rescue chief with Marine Aircraft Control Group-28, poses for a photo with his family after his retirement ceremony at Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point, North Carolina, June 16, 2023. After a 23-year career, Lisle's legacy will be carried on by his son, Lance Cpl. Devin Lisle, an aircraft rescue and firefighting specialist with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron 751.
“I have watched his determination drive him to accomplishing what is put in front of him. He has a heart of gold and takes after his mother with his compassion for others,” said Lisle. “As a military brat, he has had many people in his life that helped him build the tools to be successful. I am proud of the man he has become.”
“There were times growing up when I would get mad when he would have to leave. I understand totally now the reasons why things happened the way they did. Now we have a very strong relationship and talk almost every single day,” said Devin “We help each other out when we are together. I am so thankful I have him as a father, and wouldn’t change anything. I love you Dad.”
For his final exercise before retiring, Master Sgt. Christopher Lisle decided to do a live aircraft fire exercise with his son. During the exercise he manned the same firehose as his son as they extinguished an aircraft fire during a training exercise at MCAS New River in Jacksonville, North Carolina, May 12, 2023.
“It is good to call myself a Marine along with my dad,” said Devin. “Being able to be here today and have the opportunity to work and train side by side like we are doing here today.”
All of the Marines stood back and watched as Devin and his father extinguished the fire together. It was a special and rare moment between a father and a son to be able to do something like that. The older Lisle retired on June 16, 2023, at MCAS Cherry Point.
“The time has come for me to hang up the uniform and transition, but in a sense, I wish I had a little more time. It feels really good that a piece of me will be staying in the Corps and the MOS,” said Lisle. “Almost as a legacy. I know he will do great things and will be taken care of.”